The state of Washington today became the 39th jurisdiction in the U.S. to license physical therapists assistants when Governor Christine Gregoire signed SB 5292 into law.

The legislation, sponsored by Senator Darlene Fairley (D), was strongly supported by the Physical Therapy Association of Washington (PTWA).

"Our legislative team worked hard with all stakeholder groups which resulted in there being no opposition to our bill," said Rich Bettesworth, PT, President of PTWA, "Equally hard work with legislators facilitated a successful legislative process."

Licensure is appropriate for physical therapist assistants the PTWA believes because licensure is the only regulation that guarantees the highest degree of public protection, ensuring that all physical therapist assistants will be regulated and have the appropriate education and training background. Thirty-seven states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico license physical therapist assistants.

"The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) applauds the passage of this important legislation to provide for the licensure of physical therapist assistants," said APTA President R Scott Ward, PT, PhD. "Physical therapist assistants are an integral part of the physical therapy team, and this legislation provides the necessary recognition and regulation to ensure their continued contribution to the profession."

Evidence presented to the Washington State Department of Health demonstrated harm done to patients due to the lack of regulation of physical therapists assistant. Because the bordering states of Oregon and Idaho regulate PTAs, evidence indicated that Washington has become a "magnet state" for physical therapist assistants in those states who have been disciplined for improper and illegal practice.

PTWA is a chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association, a national professional organization representing more than 70,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students. Its goal is to foster advancements in physical therapy practice, research, and education.

For more information about a career as a physical therapist, to find a physical therapist, and for more physical therapy news and information, consumers can visit www.apta.org/consumer.

The American Physical Therapy Association is a national organization representing nearly 70,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students nationwide. Its goal is to foster advancements in physical therapist education, practice, and research.

www.apta.org

(North American English - Physical Therapist, Physical Therapy. UK/Australasian/Irish English - Physiotherapist, Physiotherapy)